BuzzFeed’s Ben Smith breaks the news that Glenn Greenwald, who broke all manner of stories outing the eavesdropping ways of the National Security Agency (NSA), is leaving the Guardian to work at a “a very well-funded … very substantial new media outlet.”
The Erik Wemple Blog just interviewed Greenwald about his jump to this unspecified new media outlet. Greenwald was careful not to divulge any telltale details about the organization, saying only that it would have outposts in New York, Washington and San Francisco. As to its headquarters, we asked Greenwald whether any consideration had been given to locating it outside of the United States, given the legal sensitivity of the reporting he has done in recent months. He declined to answer, but noted that it’s an “important and good question.”
The new media organization, said Greenwald, will be a general-interest proposition, including coverage of sports and entertainment. Greenwald told BuzzFeed that his role would be to build the “entire journalism unit,” particularly the part that bears on political coverage. It will be online in time to publish NSA-related stories that stem from the documents he received from Edward Snowden. He would not hazard a guess on the launch date.
• When asked whether the new organization would have a big video presence, Greenwald said it would be “very innovative — very, very innovative.”
• When asked who is bankrolling the thing, Greenwald said that it’s “going to be funded by a particular backer.” He wouldn’t get into names.
• When asked about how much money was being invested and how many staffers would be employed, Greenwald declined to say.
If it sounds like a dream job, well, that’s essentially the way Greenwald frames it. “It would be impossible for any journalist, let alone me, to decline this opportunity,” he told us. He stressed that the “impetus” for his departure from the Guardian was indeed the attractiveness of this new gig, and not any differences with the Guardian that arose over the highly sensitive Guardian stories on NSA. “I mean, you know, if you go through something as high-stakes and as intense as what we went through, of course you will have disagreements with people,” said Greenwald, adding that he’s “not leaving with anger or anything.”